A pilot study investigating arm and leg FES-assisted cycling as an intervention for improving ambulation after Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

  • Author / Creator
    Alvarado, Laura
  • People with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) have the potential for recovering walking through plasticity-induced changes in the remaining neural circuitry. Current rehabilitation for walking attempts to induce such changes by providing relevant sensory inputs and motor commands through repetitive practice. Current rehabilitation fails to actively incorporate arm movements despite being naturally involved in human walking. The overall goal of my thesis was to demonstrate that active arm involvement through arm and leg FES-assisted cycling improves overground walking after iSCI. Specifically, my pilot study evaluated the changes in walking after 12 weeks of the intervention in individuals with chronic iSCI. Arm and leg FES-assisted cycling was effective in improving walking speed and endurance. Balance, motor and sensory scores, and gait kinematics improved in most cases. The reflex modulation improved in every case suggesting that neuronal reorganization (plasticity) was involved. Hence, arm and leg FES-assisted cycling is worthy of further investigation.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.